Will 10mm Stop a Bear?

By Tom Gresham
Posted in #Gear #Survival
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Will 10mm Stop a Bear?

November 23rd, 2019

3 minute read

For ultimate reliability, you want a revolver, right? I’m preparing to head out West for several weeks, where I’ll be among the lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). Well, mountain lions, bears, and wolves. It’s hard to overcome what I have learned over many years, but I’m taking a semi-auto this time. 

Educators talk about the law of primacy. That means the things you learn first stick hard. That’s why it’s difficult to change your views, and it’s hard to overcome bad training, but in this case, I’m fighting what “everyone knows” about revolvers being more reliable than semi-autos.

While many think revolvers are the best for outdoor defense, the capable 10mm XD-M gives you 15 rounds of powerful firepower.

A New Direction

First, what am I taking with me? Well, a 10mm, but that’s not surprising. Both of the pistols we have issued under the Gun Talk name have been 10s, but I’m not taking either of them. They are great, but they are single stacks. When Springfield Armory brought out the XD-M in 10mm, I immediately bought the 4.5″ model. It carries 15 rounds in one magazine. 

I’ve carried XD-M pistols from time to time. I like the way they shoot. I’ve always been comfortable shooting at 50 yards with the 3.8” XD-M in 9mm. 

But, I have always in the past carried a revolver when in “bear country.” Why? Because the old timers always said revolvers were more reliable. That, and I wanted a lot of power in the cartridge.

Where It Counts

Let’s put away the reliability issue first. I carry a semi-auto pistol every day to protect myself from two-legged predators. Why I would balk at that for those with four legs is strange, but it testifies to the staying power of what you learn first. 

From its excellent sights to its 15-round capacity to its good ergonomics, the 10mm XD-M is a great choice for predator defense.

Next, there’s the power factor. I will be carrying a load throwing a 140-gr. deep penetrating bullet at 1,500 fps. That’s 700 ft.-lbs. of energy at the muzzle. That’s about the same as I get from the .357 Magnum loads I’ve been carrying in the mountains, and I’ll have 15+1 of them in the gun. 

Yes, I know that Glock has had a 10mm full-size pistol for years. Honestly, I have small hands, and I just can’t handle that big grip very well. The Springfield feels better in my hands. More trim. This isn’t a case of better or worse, it’s just personal preference. Plus, with a couple of years of experience carrying an XD-M on my belt, it seemed an easy choice.

A deadly threat like a bear in the wild demands a capable defensive firearm. Erik Mandre/Shutterstock.com

Now I’m shopping for and buying holsters. I usually end up with three holsters for each carry pistol. 

The polymer autoloader weighs a bit less than my stainless-steel revolver, but once I load the Springfield with 16 rounds, the difference will disappear.

Before you say it, yes. I know I have a problem. And I can quit anytime I want. I just don’t want to! So there!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Tom Gresham

Tom Gresham

Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture, and First Person Defender television series.

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